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should be reading
John Carmack
New York Times

A.J. Jacobs

The Year of Living Biblically

We sometimes hear of people who claim follow the rules of the Bible to the letter. But how practicable is this? In The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible A.J. Jacobs decides to give it a try.

Mind you, he doesn't try to follow all of the rules. One thing that the book makes very clear is that such a thing would be impossible, and there is always some degree of choosing and interpreting the rules. Rather each section of the book quotes a verse from the Bible and Jacobs explains his attempts to follow it. Not wearing mixed fibres meant packing away some of his clothes, but wasn't so difficult. Not eating fruit from trees which are less than 5 years old is a bit harder. The reader also finds out about what he got to see during his year, for instance sacrificing chickens and handling serpents.

It's interesting how agnostic Jacobs gradually begins to 'buy into' the idea of religion, but don't expect anything too deep from this book. You'll more likely read it for the humour, for instance working out how to stone adulterers without getting into trouble, and if you accept it on that basis then you'll find it an enjoyable read. info
Paperback 416 pages  
ISBN: 0743291484
Salesrank: 40291
Published: 2008 Simon & Schuster
Amazon price $10.30
Marketplace:New from $6.00:Used from $0.97
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Paperback 416 pages  
ISBN: 0743291484
Salesrank: 63555
Weight:0.85 lbs
Published: 2008 Simon & Schuster
Amazon price CDN$ 17.09
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 17.09:Used from CDN$ 0.61
Buy from

Product Description
Now a TV series Living Biblically airing on CBS!

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Know-It-All comes a fascinating and timely exploration of religion and the Bible. A.J. Jacobs chronicles his hilarious and thoughtful year spent obeying―as literally as possible―the tenets of the Bible.

Raised in a secular family but increasingly interested in the relevance of faith in our modern world, A.J. Jacobs decides to dive in headfirst and attempt to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year. He vows to follow the Ten Commandments. To be fruitful and multiply. To love his neighbor. But also to obey the hundreds of less publicized rules: to avoid wearing clothes made of mixed fibers; to play a ten-string harp; to stone adulterers.

The resulting spiritual journey is at once funny and profound, reverent and irreverent, personal and universal and will make you see history’s most influential book with new eyes.

Jacobs’s quest transforms his life even more radically than the year spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica for The Know-It-All. His beard grows so unruly that he is regularly mistaken for a member of ZZ Top. He immerses himself in prayer, tends sheep in the Israeli desert, battles idolatry, and tells the absolute truth in all situations—much to his wife’s chagrin.

Throughout the book, Jacobs also embeds himself in a cross-section of communities that take the Bible literally. He tours a Kentucky-based creationist museum and sings hymns with Pennsylvania Amish. He dances with Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn and does Scripture study with Jehovah’s Witnesses. He discovers ancient biblical wisdom of startling relevance. And he wrestles with seemingly archaic rules that baffle the twenty-first-century brain.

Jacobs’s extraordinary undertaking yields unexpected epiphanies and challenges. A book that will charm readers both secular and religious, The Year of Living Biblically is part Cliff Notes to the Bible, part memoir, and part look into worlds unimaginable. Thou shalt not be able to put it down.